Washington (AFP) – An Oscar-winning filmmaker has abandoned a planned documentary on Hillary Clinton, following an outcry from Republicans who argued the film would promote the former secretary of state’s presidential run.
Filmmaker Charles Ferguson said on a blog on the Huffington Post that criticism from both Democrats and Republicans made it difficult to produce the film for CNN.
“When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film,” he wrote.
“Not Democrats, not Republicans — and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration… After approaching well over a hundred people, only two persons who had ever dealt with Mrs. Clinton would agree to an on-camera interview, and I suspected that even they would back out.”
Ferguson, who won an Oscar for his 2010 documentary about the financial crisis “Inside Job” said he began with the idea of making an “ambitious, controversial, and highly visible” film which was independent and fair on the former secretary of state, senator and first lady.
He noted that Clinton was not cooperating and that some Democrats were concerned about it as a commercial venture. Republicans claimed the film would promote Clinton, who is considering a 2016 White House run.
“Neither political party wanted the film made,” Ferguson said. “After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud. And so I’m cancelling. (Not because of any pressure from CNN — quite the contrary.) It’s a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have now become. But I don’t think that it’s a victory for the media, or for the American people,” added Ferguson, who was also nominated for an Oscar for his Iraq War documentary “No End In Sight.”
Earlier this year, Republicans threatened to prevent two television networks from carrying party primary debates if they don’t abandon planned documentaries on Clinton.
NBC Entertainment has been working a miniseries on Clinton, the fate of which is unclear.
Clinton has made no announcement of her political plans but the RNC letters — more than three years ahead of the 2016 election — show the party’s nervousness about a run by Clinton, who narrowly lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008.
CNN said the decision to scrap the project was made by Ferguson.
“Charles Ferguson has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton,” a CNN statement said. “Charles is an Academy Award winning director who CNN Films was excited to be working with, but we understand and respect his decision.”